Tips for the New Home Buyer
If you’re looking at a home for sale, whether it’s new or previously owned, in a community or on private land, there are a few things that people with experience want you to know.
Do your research. When a make, model or design is suggested, find out about the competitors. This holds true, too, for associated services, like financing, transport or setup.
For a previously lived in home, check the roof, water heater and furnace. These are expensive components to replace, and you should know that there is significant life left in them at the time you’re looking to purchase.
Think about drywall versus wall board. Step heavily on high-traffic areas to ensure the floor is solid. Check windows for leaks. Check skirting for holes and moisture underneath the home. None of this is very pleasurable, but all of it is necessary.
Be Your Own Advocate
Maralee Dougherty, of Leesburg, Fla., recently lost her husband and moved to a new home in a new community. She moved to a resident-owned community, so she could own the land beneath the home, and to a home that was a bit smaller in size. Beyond the expanded amenities in the new community, Hawthorne at Leesburg, Dougherty said the home “showed very well.” An inspector and friendly contractor helped assure her of the value of the home for sale.
“It’s very open,” Dougherty said of the new home. “The living and dining rooms are one big L-shape. A lot of the more expensive stuff has been replaced, including roof, windows, and siding. There also was new laminate floors. Everything the previous owners had done, they seem to have bought the best.”
It’s always best that you watch for problems, or have someone you can trust do it for you.
David Murphy, of Las Vegas, Nev., said he prefers to live in an all-ages community as opposed to a senior park, and that he’s mindful of staying above flood level to help protect his investment.
“I like new-from-the factory,” Murphy said. “It is vital that the roof is sealed and taken care of. The home would be no good if it leaks on the beams… then the heat and AC need to be working well, with plumbing up to date and electrical up to date.”
On the more pleasurable side, every home shopper has a unique interest in amenities.
Pick your package
Bruce Thelen is director of sales and development for Champion Homes, one of the largest makers in the market. He has detailed what Champion and its product designers have implemented in the way of customer demand.
“Our consumers want to see the features and color pallets and design elements that they see on HGTV, and that they see in higher price stick built homes,” Thelen said. “We spend a lot of time figuring out features and colors that go into our homes while maintaining the price points everyone is accustomed to in our industry.”
Pink remains a popular color in Florida. Darker tones play well in the Midwest and Great Lakes, while much of the rest of the country is going to lighter brown-beige and off-white tones.
“We try to offer the consumer as much choice as possible,” Thelen said. “There are two ways we do that. One is in the actual design of the house. We create a ‘family of homes’, focusing on the living area, kitchen, and bath. We perfect those as much as we can, and then build the remainder of the house around it in multiple dimensions.
“Maybe it goes from a three- to four-bedroom, or turns a 56-foot house into a 60-foot house,” he said. “We can offer the consumer this variation, along with three different bathroom designs and maybe certain cabinets, varying roof pitch or an optional dormer.”
The Finishing Touch
Champion customers want to see built-in components – architectural designs that look somewhat like free-standing residential furniture. For instance, a kitchen island that uses table legs on one side rather than a full cabinet, or a fixed computer desk, or storage cubes in an entry “mud” room.
Customers want deep, stainless steel farmer sinks, “rainfall” shower heads, wide ceramic showers with no tub, and bright-open layouts.
And overall home design, inside and out.
“A cleaner and streamline look,” Thelen said. “We’ve really followed that trend. It varies somewhat by region, but it’s been more distinct in recent years.”